Full-service CRO JSS Medical Research is extending its presence in Latin America permanently with the acquisition of LatAm Clinical Trials, a multinational CRO based in South and Central America.
The financial details of the deal were not released but the 19 clinical research staffers of LatAm will be integrated into JSS, Dr. Sanjay Machado, executive director of global business operations at JSS, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. LatAm’s expertise and infrastructure will help JSS build its footprint in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Dr. Machado explained that the majority of trials conducted by JSS are post-marketing or Phase IV, as well as health economic outcomes studies, which the company has been conducting for large pharmaceutical companies for the past 15 years.
“We have been working with LatAm on global trials in the past,” Dr. Machado said, noting that both companies have similar clients and that the clients were “very pleased” with the acquisition announcement.
Phase IV studies are key for the US and Canadian governments for reimbursement purposes. And now the Latin American countries are beginning to look at studies proving the cost-effectiveness of treatments as well as a more real-world understanding of patient compliance and physician prescribing patterns, Dr. Machado said.
He added that the LatAm acquisition will now make it a full-service CRO, but that it will generally continue to operate as it has in the past.
Competitive Push in Latin America
“ICON, Quintiles and a number of other large CROs are all pushing into the Latin American space right now,” Dr. Machado said.
He added that he believes JSS has the upper hand right now because of its affiliations with three universities in Canada, work with physicians on the ground in Latin America, and proven track record of publishing in leading medical journals.
“There’s a gap in the market for these kinds of [post-marketing] studies in Latin America, and the big players are struggling to find people who can design these types of studies,” Machado said. “We have an upper edge because we know what kinds of studies should be designed, and we can do lot more of the work remotely and now work with our partners on the ground.”
In the last 5 years, JSS has produced 198 publications, Dr. Machado said, noting the company “won’t take a project if it doesn’t have a scientific merit …if you look at the largest CROs, they’re not into publishing, they have lots of sites, patients, infrastructure, and now they’re just starting to move into this Phase 4 segment.”
Dr. Machado added that JSS, which has 55 employees and 40 consultants across Canada, has two partners that it’s working with in Brazil and that it just recently began work with large pharma there. The company may seek acquisitions there to run studies for the Brazilian government, Machado said.